Documents offering to supply embargoed technology to Iran have been unearthed by Reuters, showing Huawei partner Skycom Tech Co Ltd bidding to provide HP servers to an Iranian mobile network - in breach of sanctions.
The bid, seen by Reuters, was submitted in 2010 by Skycom to Mobile Telecommunication Co of Iran (MCI) and comprises €20m worth of comms gear - including €1.3m of HP kit which cannot be imported into Iran because of US sanctions. Skycom is a partner of Huawei, and the bid apparently includes 13 pages marked "Huawei Confidential", prompting the accusation that Huawei is directly involved.
The Chinese company happily admits that Skycom is an Iranian partner, and that the bid was submitted by Skycom, but denies any wrongdoing itself though Reuters reckons the two companies are close enough for one to be held responsible for the actions of the other.
The last time a Huawei partner was accused of selling US tech to Iran, Huawei contacted El Reg to say that the company in question, Soda GoStar, was not a Huawei partner.
"On LinkedIn.com, several telecom workers list having worked at 'Huawei-skycom'," explains the Reuters coverage, continuing: "A former Skycom employee said the two companies shared the same headquarters in China. And an Iranian telecom manager who has visited Skycom's office in Tehran said, 'Everybody carries Huawei badges'."
What's not clear is if the bid was ultimately successful, or who provided the HP servers which MCI had been using to run its billing systems.
The US wants to restrict the flow of computing hardware into Iran to hinder the country's nuclear programme, but with international channels that are so convoluted, it's very hard to control access to such ubiquitous equipment. HP's terms and conditions specify that its buyers should conform to US export laws, but enforcing such restrictions is next to impossible. ®